The parade of Spring adaptations for manga I know well continues with Sakamoto desu ga?, Sano Nami’s massively popular and recently ended seinen series. You got a pretty good read on this series from the first episode, I think. It’s a gag manga and director Takamatsu Shinji very much treats it as one. It’s no exaggeration to say Takamatsu-sensei was literally the only director I even considered when I heard the inevitable anime announcement – no one else does high-school comedy about guys being goofballs like he does.
I think it’s fair to say Sakamoto desu ga? is not going for photorealism or complex character drama. It’s just trying to be hilarious, and it accomplishes it much of the time. Sakamoto-kun (Midorikawa Hikaru – not who I pictured, but a good choice) is basically infallible – what you see is what you get with him, and the joke is really in the way everybody else plays off him. Sakamoto’s preposterous stunts are great but he’s basically the straight man here, as I think you can see in the premiere. He’s surrounded by a crew of screaming girls and oddball guys voiced by famous seiyuu, all of whom are sooner or later won over by Sakamoto’s glittering awesomeness. Kakui!
I would expect the series to follow the basic formula of one chapter before the break and one after, as I don’t recall too many extended stories in the manga. I have especially fond memories of the bee sketch, which was really the one that sold me on the series. And having seen the truly terrifying Osuzumebachi (it kills more people than any animal in Japan) up close, I can tell you I would have been ripping my uniform off and hiding under a desk too. Sakamoto’s swordfight with “Mr. Bee” is a highlight, but my favorite part of this sketch is the girls fleeing the room and leaving the boys to die.
While it’s probably fair to say the content here was pretty typical of Sakamoto desu ga?, I’d recommend giving the series a bit of time even if the humor didn’t immediately click for you. This is one of those comedies that’s kind of a slow build – the more you’re exposed to it, the more you find yourself getting drawn into the absurdity of the world it creates. And the staff and cast Deen put together for it should be able to do justice to the manga.